Many people’s conceptions of modern slavery involve the exploitation of foreigners in prostitution or their forced labour in appalling conditions while facing threats and violence.

However, the Home Office has noted that, over the past four years, the most common type of modern slavery in the UK has involved the exploitation of British individuals, mainly vulnerable adults and teenagers, who are coerced, forced, or groomed into committing crimes for the profit of others.

Two thirds of all possible victims of modern slavery who were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) since September 2019—a total of 19,877 persons—reported criminal exploitation as a result of exploitation that took place in the UK. Of these, 12,641 individuals, or 64 percent, were British. 8,879 British boys, or 45% of the total, were exploited when they were 17 years old or younger. Not only do the victims themselves suffer, but also their families, neighbours, and larger communities as a result of this criminal and antisocial activity.

To tackle criminal exploitation, the following must be done:

  • Identify victims and take action against offenders
  • Enable victims to build a new life and prevent reexploitation
  • Strengthen community and partnership responses
  • Reduce the vulnerability and prevent exploitation

Southwell and Partners has been involved in most of the significant and leading forced criminality and modern slavery cases before the Court of Appeal.